This talk examines the advent of the Jackson 5 within the discourses of racial unrest and law and order texturing the United States of America at the dawn of the 1970s. Central to this talk will be the ways the Jackson 5 and their prodigious leader negotiated the politics of their generation, the fantastic dimensions of Black popular culture, and the theocratic convictions of a faith community (Jehovah's Witnesses) eagerly awaiting the end of the world.
James Howard Hill, Jr. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a B.A. from Criswell College, an M.T.S. from Southern Methodist University, and is an Advanced Ph.D. Candidate at Northwestern University. Hill, Jr. teaches courses and conducts research in black studies, religious studies, cultural studies, and the politics of popular culture. His scholarship has received recognition and support from The Heidelberg Center for American Studies (Heidelberg, Germany), The Henry Luce Foundation (Sacred Writes), the Forum for Theological Exploration, The Louisville Institute, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Social Science Research Council (SSRC), as well as the Mellon Cluster Research Fellowship in Comparative Race and Diaspora studies. In 2020, Hill, Jr. was awarded the Rubem Alves Award for Theopoetics in recognition of his contributions as a photographer whose art and scholarship reflect a commitment to imagination, art, and embodiment. His public commentary on race, popular music, sports, politics, and religion can be read in Black Agenda Report, The Syndicate, Black Perspectives, and The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, among other outlets.
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